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The Science Behind 'Whispers' And 'Shouts' Of Bees

Update Date: Jul 08, 2014 02:34 PM EDT
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While pollinating when bees stumble upon a particular lucrative source of nectar or pollen, they generally "whisper" the news to their fellow bees. However a new study has found that some bee species in Brazil do the opposite and "shout" instead of whispering. 

According to the study, rather than quietly whispering to one another about a sweet treat, some Brazilian bees shout to warn other competitors listening that they are prepared to defend their food source. 

The move might sound risky but its quite effective. 

"It's a signal with honest aspects and the possibility of lies," James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego, explained in a press release. "It tells nestmates where to find good food and hints at a larger occupying force."

Researchers said the findings of the study suggest that eavesdroppers can alter the evolution of animal signals in ways that were previously not thought possible.

"Our study provides a new way of looking at how eavesdroppers affect the evolution of animal communication signals," Elinor Lichtenberg, a PhD student who led the study, added in the press release. "Until now, it was thought that eavesdroppers select against conspicuous signals, for example by more easily finding and eating prey that sings loudly. But our results show that eavesdroppers can help select for the same conspicuous signals that are easiest for intended recipients to detect and understand."

The findings of the study has been published in the journal Current Biology. 

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